Celebrations draw in crowd from near and far
By Achong Tanjong

Foreigners to the country had the opportunity to witness the Bruneian style of celebration in conjunction with His Majesty's Birthday celebration.

One of the local tour guides explained that the occasion was an opportunity for travel agencies to bring more tourists into the country. Everywhere we can see tourists he said, adding that those people are not only seen around the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, but also in the other three districts.

During this auspicious occasion, local travel agencies have come up with promotional packages to attract tourists to experience some of the exciting activities in the country as well as support the Know Your Country tourist programme.

At the capital yesterday one travel guide brought some tourists to observe how people could mingle with their beloved ruler and members of the royal family at the get-together ceremony for the Brunei-Muara District.

"Your culture is what we want to highlight. People here are very friendly. I am impressed how people of various races mix so well together. The food is great and most importantly, we are assured of safety," said Mark William, a tourist working in Sabah.

He photographed and recorded the event to show his friends back home. He also sampled the local delicacies at the night market.

Each district produces various exciting events and activities to enliven the atmosphere of the joyous occasion. The atmosphere in every district has become more beautiful and attractive in the evenings when all the decorative lights and arches are illuminated.

The most popular hang out venues for locals and tourists alike is the nightly celebration stalls that showcase stage performances and cultural shows.

Residents and tourists, especially those in the Brunei-Muara District, will soon witness other interesting celebrations - the float procession, the Borneo Tug-of-War competition and the fireworks display, which will take place on the night of July 26 at 8pm at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Safuddien in the capital.

The tug-of-war competition will pit teams from Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan and Brunei Darussalam competing against each other for the trophy. - Borneo Bulletin (21st July 2008)